Honor 70 and Honor Pad 8 promise high specs for modest money

Honor has announced two new mobile devices, the Honor 70 smartphone and the Honor Pad 8 tablet, both of which will be available at the beginning of September in the U.K. Since being sold by Huawei, Honor has released the Honor Magic4 Pro phone globally, and it really impressed in our review. Let’s take a look at these two new devices, which promise big features and performance for modest money.

Honor 70

This midrange Honor 70 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor and comes with 8GB of RAM, plus a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage space. The screen is a 6.67-inch OLED with a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ certification, and a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) of 1920Hz, which Honor says makes the screen more comfortable to view due to less flickering. A 4,800mAh battery provides the power and is recharged using an included 66-watt charger.

honor 70 seen from the back.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Honor is talking up the camera on the back of the Honor 70. It has a “Dual Ring” design, something like the Huawei P50 Pro and the OnePlus Nord 2T, and it’s the first to use the Sony IMX800 54-megapixel camera. It’s joined by a 50MP wide-angle camera and a 2MP macro camera. Using Honor’s Image Engine, the phone has a video feature called Solo Cut. This uses AI to focus on a single person when shooting video, placing them in a small picture-in-picture window in the completed footage.

It doesn’t use facial recognition, but instead focuses on human movement to capture the subject, and is clever enough to refocus if a person leaves and reenters the frame. Both the main image and the Solo Cut window are recorded in 1080p and at 30 frames per second (fps). It’s an unusual feature and is likely only going to be useful in very specific situations. Other camera features include a Night Portrait mode with a bokeh effect and a 32MP selfie camera in the screen.

The Honor 70 doesn’t share a family resemblance with the Magic4 Pro. It has an attractive, but fairly standard design. The frosted glass rear panel looks excellent and is cool to the touch, but the dual camera modules protrude a lot from the otherwise sleek body, slightly ruining its looks. It suffers from the age-old problem of being quite uncomfortable to grip due to the heavily tapered sides.

MagicUI worked really well on the Magic4 Pro and seems to be very similar here. Helping that is the 120Hz screen, which scrolls very smoothly. We haven’t tested the camera yet, but will have more to say on it in our full review coming in the near future.

The Honor 70 comes in three different colors — Midnight Black, Crystal Silver, and Emerald Green — and will be released on September 2, with pre-orders going live on August 26. The basic 8GB/128GB model costs 480 British pounds ($570) and the 8GB/256GB version costs 530 pounds ($625).

Honor Pad 8

Honor has never released a tablet internationally before, so this is a first for the brand. But rather than go all-out with an iPad Pro-rivaling top-spec model, it has pitched the modest Pad 8 at a more sensible price. Just 270 pounds ($320) buys you the Pad 8. For that, you get a massive 12.1-inch screen with a 2K resolution, surrounded by a 7.2mm thick bezel for an 87% screen-to-body ratio. It’s made from aluminum, weighs 520 grams, and is very thin at 6.9mm.

the honor pad 8's screen.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor provides the power, and there’s a big 7,250mAh battery inside, along with eight speakers around the body providing stereo sound with support for DTS:X Ultra Hi-Res audio. Like the Honor 70, the Pad 8 uses Honor’s Magic UI 6.1 software built over Android 12, with the added benefit of multitasking for four apps.

The screen ratio is wide, which means the black bars above and below TV shows and movies aren’t as intrusive, as you can see from our example of a 21:9 aspect ratio trailer playing (below). Despite the relatively ordinary processor, the tablet seems to be responsive. The thinness of the chassis makes it comfortable to grip, but the wideness means it can feel quite lopsided due to the weight when you hold it with one hand.

It’s a shame the refresh rate isn’t higher than 60Hz, but the screen is otherwise bright and colorful. A full review will come soon, but first impressions are good. The software is quick and attractive, it has complete access to Google Play and all the streaming and reading apps you want, and it doesn’t cost a fortune either.

Android tablets have long been a distant second to an iPad, even the cheapest one. But recent changes to the software are helping make the experience better. If the Honor Pad 8 continues to perform well, then it may end up changing all that, at least for those who don’t want to spend much money.

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